Protect your trade secrets

Posted: 21st March 2016

Data stickThe ease with which data can be printed out from a computer system or transferred onto a memory stick means that there is always a risk that trade secrets may end up in the wrong hands. Another High Court case makes it plain that the law is far from impotent in such situations.

A man who was extremely aggrieved after his job application was turned down by a leading IT company had managed to get hold of confidential documents from the company’s human resources records. The documents contained detailed information about the company’s staff, including personal contact details, and could have been extremely damaging had they ended up in the hands of a competitor or a headhunter.

Tata Consultancy Services claimed that Prashant Sengar had threatened to use his possession of the documents as ‘leverage’ in his quest for a job at a high salary. He had made a number of allegations about the Tata's employment practices which he had suggested would be of interest to the media.

The Court noted that the defendant was quite unable to accept that the failure of his job application was due to his lack of the necessary skills, knowledge and relevant experience. He had refused to reveal how he managed to get hold of the documents and there was no substance in his allegations against the company’s practices, which were wholly lawful and responsible.

In those circumstances, the Court issued a permanent injunction, requiring the defendant to hand back the documents and any other property belonging to Tata that he had in his possession. He was also banned from revealing any of the documents’ contents to third parties and from inducing or procuring others to provide him with further confidential information about the company.